Kingbit, a Builder of NFT artist communities

[Minji’s NFT art people] Kingbit: building NFT artist communities

Kim Minji (Kim): With the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc, Korea’s NFT artist communities have formed through social media platforms like Clubhouse, Kakao Talk, and Twitter. I first heard of your open chat room on Kakao called Clubhouse NFT Artist this past March. It was then when I realized just how big the community is.
Kingbit: I started that room on March 17. Less than a month later, it had around 200-300 people in it.
Kingbit (second from right), a builder of NFT artist communities. Photo: koreannft.com/events/nftvilla
Kim: I noticed the room wasn’t exclusively for artists.
Kingbit: It’s a place for anyone who’s interested in NFTs and blockchain technology. We have artists, NFT collectors, and even business-minded people seeking creators for their platform.

First NFT Art Group of Exhibition of Korea

Kim: From March 23 to April 5, 2021, an artist named Lee Yoon-seong hosted an NFT exhibition at his metaverse gallery Nu Gallery, which is located in a space called Cryptovoxels. Around 70 artists from the community took part. It could be seen as the very first NFT salon in Korea.
An image of “First NFT Art Group of Exhibition of Korea” in 2021. Photo=Lee Yoon-seong
Kim: Of all the metaverse spaces, why Cryptovoxels?
Kingbit: Back in the early days, there were only a few artists. I’d put up something for auction on OpenSea and then check out what was going on in the metaverse. There was Decentraland and The Sandbox, but you couldn’t access those spaces on your mobile, and you needed a crypto wallet. Then I heard that Mr. Misang was holding an exhibit in a space called Cryptovoxels. I decided to check it out. All you needed was a link and you were in. For this exhibit, we decided on Cryptovoxels because it was the most accessible space.
Image from “First NFT Art Group of Exhibition of Korea” in 2021. Photo=Lee Yoon-seong (provided by Namseo Ain)
Kim: In April you organized the “Korean NFT Exhibit” in a VR-based metaverse gallery.
Kingbit: An LA-based artist from our community, Han Dong-lee, got in touch with a VR-based metaverse firm called NFT Oasis, and we managed to organize an exhibit to promote Korean artists to an international audience. From April 17 to 24 this year, we held a Korea-specific exhibit on Microsoft’s VR social media platform AltspaceVR. Our daily visitor count exceeded 500. A total of 88 Korean NFT artists exhibited their work in a metaverse space. That’s when I realized that digital art can also convey its mood or aura.
A poster for the metaverse “Korean NFT Exhibition”

Korea’s first real-world community-based NFT exhibit

Kim: In May you organized NFTs exhibits in Seoul at KOTE, a space in Insadong, and the Villa Hamilton in Itaewon.
Kingbit: Most people still don’t know anything about the metaverse or blockchain technology, so we made an NFT villa, a sort of cultural crossroads where people can gather.
A poster for the “NFT Villa” exhibit
The “NFT Villa” exhibit. Photo=koreannft.com/events/nftvilla
Kim: As a founder and builder of South Korea’s NFT art community, what is a memory that stands out to you?
Kingbit: To me, there’s no greater feedback than when someone tells me that they’d given up on art but started up again after discovering the NFT market. I also love hearing about artists being inspired by other artists. It’s very inspiring to see artists who were once confined to a specific medium, such as oils or drawings, branch out and experiment after interacting with people from different genres.
Kingbit(Twitter Profile Image)
Kim: How have NFTs changed the game for creators and artists?
Kingbit: In traditional art auctions, there’s a certain power dynamic between the artist and the auction house. There’s no shortage of artists who want exposure but only a few doors available to them. For most artists, it’s incredibly difficult to make a living in the traditional art world. But with NFTs, it’s not an auction house or an institution that verifies the authenticity of a piece, but technology. NFT platforms also charge around 2.5% in transaction fees -- significantly lower than conventional galleries and art houses. NFT artists also continue to earn royalties from additional sales. Also, if your work is sold through a gallery, you don’t see that money right away. The transaction takes time. But if you sell an NFT, you get paid instantly. Naturally, the royalties come later when additional sales are made, but everything is recorded on the blockchain, so you don’t have to rely on a third party to keep track of transactions and sales.
Kim: Any message you wish to convey to the NFT artists out there?
Kingbit: Be brave. A new market has formed, one that’s owned and controlled by the artists. Technology, in the end, is an aid. These new technologies called NFTs and blockchain have arrived on the scene. It’s the artist’s job to take a new technology and apply it in a way that makes it beneficial to everyone. It’s the artist that can make the masses pay attention to a technology, that’s why I think artists are going to be more in demand than ever before. That’s why I try to encourage artists to take the leap. Be brave. Take changes. You won’t be alone. There are people that will help you along the way. I’m one of them. Reach out, and give me your hand.
written by Minji Kim, translated by Felix Im.
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